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Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 @ 7:32 PM
Updated: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 @ 7:31 PM
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Rob Pelinka says the Los Angeles Lakers aren't trying to beat the Golden State Warriors at their own game.
Instead, they're building a team around LeBron James to do something different.
Pelinka spoke publicly Wednesday for the first time since the Lakers' remarkable offseason overhaul began, and the irrepressibly optimistic former agent radiated excitement about the future for a team that hasn't made the playoffs in five seasons.
"To get the commitment from LeBron James to come to the Lakers for four years was really the culmination of everything we've been working towards," Pelinka said. "When LeBron chose to come here, it was the ultimate validation for the moves we've made and what we've been building since we started."
The longest postseason drought in franchise history could be finished after James chose the Lakers in free agency. The club also added veterans Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee and Lance Stephenson alongside their young core while parting ways with Julius Randle and Brook Lopez, among others.
Pelinka and top executive Magic Johnson hope the result is a sturdy, defense-minded team with enough up-tempo offense to trouble the Warriors, the Houston Rockets and every other contender for the title.
"I think to try to play the Warriors at their own game is a trap," Pelinka said. "No one is going to beat them at their own game, so that is why we wanted to add these elements of defense and toughness and depth and try to look at areas where we will have an advantage."
Pelinka said the Lakers focused their free agency recruitment efforts on versatile, playoff-tested talents who can score and defend, instead of looking for elite players with only one specialty. He hopes the result will be a flexible, dangerous team under coach Luke Walton — and a different look around James, whose Cleveland Cavaliers teams often looked like a collection of perimeter shooters whose deficiencies were exposed by Golden State and others.
Pelinka praised Rondo as a gritty guard whose championship pedigree will fill a void on the roster. He also described Stephenson as providing "an extreme toughness and an edge," comparing his skills to Dennis Rodman's contributions to Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls, or Metta World Peace's work with Kobe Bryant's late-career Lakers.
"The road to the NBA championship has to go through the team that won last year, and we all know the guys up north have a special group," Pelinka said. "But one of the ways to attack what they have is with defensive toughness. I think we saw that in the Houston series with some of the players that Houston has."
Pelinka's desire for flexibility extended to the payroll as well. After years of trading away draft picks and acquiring high-priced veterans in an effort to win now with Bryant, the Lakers were overextended until Pelinka and Johnson spent the past 16 months creating enough salary cap space to sign two elite free agents.
They only got one, although the Lakers still appear to be in contention for disgruntled San Antonio star Kawhi Leonard, who has a year left on his contract with the Spurs.
No matter what happens, Pelinka said the Lakers' series of one-year contracts around James will put them in position to have ample cap space again next summer, when several stars could be available to join James.
Pelinka said the Lakers will have "an open training camp" in September, with only James guaranteed to be a starter. That means Rondo and second-year pro Lonzo Ball will compete to be Los Angeles' starting point guard, a possibility that was welcomed by Rondo after he signed.
Pelinka also said Ball will be fully healthy for training camp. The point guard has a torn meniscus in his left knee.
Pelinka's idiosyncrasies shone through again Wednesday, with the GM beginning his news conference by reading a passage from Brazilian author Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist," a book recommended to him by former client Bryant and carried by James throughout the playoffs. The passage describes the process of making a decision being "only the beginning of things."
"Hopefully it will lead to things ... happening that are bigger than our dreams could ever imagine," Pelinka said.
Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 10:29 AM
SPRINGFIELD — Police are still working to learn what led up to the homicide shooting that killed Howard Edley, 70, of Springfield. The shooting occured in the alley of E. Rose Street and Clifton Avenue.
Authorities were dispatched to the scene at approximately 10:30 p.m. Saturday and found Edley who was shot multiple times according to police.
No arrests have been made in this shooting and police currently do not have a description of any suspects.
Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 3:08 AM
Updated: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 4:30 PM
QUICK-LOOK FORECAST — >> Live Doppler 7 HD Interactive Radar
This evening: Expect passing showers and storms. A few may contain gusty winds and brief heavy rainfall. Temperatures will be in the 80s but fall into the 70s where rainfall occurs.
Overnight: Any lingering showers will taper off with clouds breaking. Temperatures and humidity will drop with lows in the upper 60s by morning.
Tuesday: Skies will become mostly sunny. It will be warm but less humid with highs in the middle 80s.
Wednesday: Lots of sunshine is expected with much less humidity. Highs will top out near 80 degrees.
Thursday: Expect another nice day under mostly sunny skies. Highs will rebound back into the middle 80s.
Friday: Clouds will be on the increase with a chance for scattered showers and storms developing by afternoon. The humidity will also be on the rise with highs in the middle 80s.
Saturday: Numerous showers and storms are expected, especially in the afternoon hours. Highs will be in the lower 80s.
Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 9:41 AM
Updated: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 11:24 AM
DAYTON — UPDATE@4:38 p.m.:
Dayton police on Monday afternoon declined to comment on the relations between the victim and the suspect. However, officers acknowledged that both men lived at the address where the shooting occurred.
“They’re working on the motivation, putting the case together to present for the consideration of change,” Lt. Jason Hall said of investigators.
Residents at the apartment complex expressed shock at Lawrence’s death, saying the 70-year-old worked around the complex.
“He was a neighborhood maintenance man, he spoke to the kids, if you needed help, he was there to help, really sad and unfortunate,” said one woman who asked not to be identified.
Most residents at the complex seem to think Lawrence was killed while sitting on a couch, something police did not confirm Monday. They’re not sure why Simpson would shoot him but say, if he did, it just doesn’t make any sense.
UPDATE @ 11:25 a.m.:
A woman, who identified herself as the mother of a 19-year-old arrested on a murder charge, called police after receiving a call from her son, according to a 911 call obtained by this news outlet.
“I just left work. He called me and said ‘come home,’” the woman said.
“And he said he shot someone, my roommate.”
The call ends with the woman saying she arrived at home followed by “Oh my God,” before the line disconnects.
We’ll continue to update this page as we learn more.
A 19-year-old man has been arrested on a preliminary charge of murder after a reported shooting at a Dayton home Sunday morning.
Officers and medics were dispatched around 7:30 a.m. to the home in the 3700 block of Lakebend Drive on reports of a person shot, according to dispatch records.
A man listed as the victim in a Dayton police incident report was identified as Robert Lawrence, 70, of Dayton, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. His cause and manner of death were still under investigation, according to officials.
A man arrested at the scene, identified as Markell Simpson, 19, was booked into the Montgomery County Jail on a preliminary charge of murder, according to jail records.
Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 4:21 PM
TROY — An off-duty Troy firefighter/paramedic passed away unexpectedly Friday evening.
Jason Holfinger, 38, died unexpectedly at his Covington home, according to his obituary.
He is survived by his wife and three children.
Holfinger joined the Troy Fire Department in 2013.
Grief counseling has been offered to Troy firefighters.
Visitation will be at Koinos Christian Fellowship Church in Troy on Wednesday from 3 to 8 p.m.
A funeral service will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. at the church.
A cause of death has not yet been determined.